Development can benefit few but leave out many: Jaitley

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New Delhi : Warning about the dangers of development benefiting a few while leaving out many others, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said there is a need to design a system where beneficiaries of high growth rate can be more inclusive.

Jaitley also said economies like India need higher growth rate to pull people out of poverty.

"Economies like ours all over the world need a high rate of growth. We want to use growth as a mechanism to pull the maximum number of people out of poverty, improve upon their quality of life, but we are conscious of the fact that the dangers of development and progress benefiting the few and leaving many others out of the system are also there," he said.

Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day 25th World Congress of Savings and Retail Banks here, Jaitley stressed that the penetration effect of growth will certainly take place but it will be a slow process and aspirational societies are not willing to wait indefinitely.

"Could we not anticipate a system where the additionality of resources which the state gets because of higher growth are used for the purpose of helping those who have been left out," he said at the congress gathered to talk on "Sustainable Retail Banking - Making globalisation inclusive for all".

Jaitley shared the initiatives taken by the Central government under its financial inclusion initiative wherein the objectives were banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured, funding the unfunded and servicing the unserviced.

And, now the government is busy in formalisation of the economy for which it took "difficult steps" like demonetisation and tax reforms.

He said a decade back financial inclusion was just an aspiration or a subject for academic research but never really occupied the centre-stage as far as governance was concerned.

"Just four to five years ago, 48 per cent of our population or in terms of today's population 600 million people had never seen a bank, were not connected to banks," he said and added that the current government carried out a massive exercise to get 330 million accounts opened in matter of few months using incentives like overdraft facility and insurance.

Further, he said about 130 million entrepreneurs were funded under Mudra loans, targeted at micro units, of which 54 per cent were women. Mudra is a good alternative to loans from middlemen whose 30 per cent interest rates used to make businesses unviable, he said.

Published : Thursday, November 15, 2018 20:00 [IST]
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